The Kitchen Diaries

by Nigel Slater

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Original Publisher
Fourth Estate
Date of publication

Recommended by

Lizzie Kamenetzky

Food writer and food stylist

I adore Nigel Slater for both his writing and his recipes, the Kitchen Diary books speak to me so strongly about the way I cook at home, but something about the way Slater makes even the most simple hunk of bread and cheese sound is truly magical. If ever I need inspiration for what to cook i grab one of this series of books at random and see what Slater cooked around the day in question. Invariably i then get lost in his words and the surrouding recipes and loose track of time but i alwasy alwasy come away inspired. I know I am cheating putting all three together, and this wouldn't be allowed on Desert Island Discs, but i'm greedy.

Michele Cranston

Food stylist and magazine food editor

I could have named any of Nigel Slaters books but I've chosen this one because I once stood in a queue waiting to purchase the book and found myself crying over one of the introductions, and that is what makes Mr Slater such in incredible writer. He can raise the humble cheese sandwich, baked apple or garlicky casserole to such a revelatory experience with a few magical words that you not only want to dive into the kitchen and get to work, but perhaps also, be invited around to his place for tea and a chat!

Barbara Sweeney

Food writer

There’s never a boring meal at Mr Slater's house. No baked beans on toast for him on a weeknight when he staggers in the door late and tired. Slater is the master of the simple, tasty idea that really does transform dinner from pedestrian to palatable. I chose the Diaries over other books, such as Eat, Tender or Appetite, because in a diary, written in the first person, you get a sense of getting to know someone. Plus, he writes in such a lovely, engaging way.

Allan Jenkins

Editor, Observer Food Monthly,

A declaration of interest: I have edited Nigel Slater's work in the Observer for 16 years, the first to see the weekly column that has made him the country's best loved cookery writer. But before that I collected his recipes, tore them out, and still have many stuck between other book's pages. This though is my favourite. The purest pleasure to read. Open it on any page. Effortless. The most gifted writer of his brilliant generation.

Cheryl Cohen

Farmer's market organizer

Raising the bar on using sustainable, seasonal ingredients this book did what many of us aspire to do, shop at farmers markets and small shops and cook spontaneously without a shopping list. As Nigel has done it for us, we just need to follow the recipes. What makes this book more personal for me is knowing that he's shopping at farmers markets I run, buying from farmers I know.

Kate Young

Blogger and cookbook author

A complete joy to read. I regularly find myself getting home and checking the date in this book (and Kitchen Diaries II and III) for inspiration. It changed the way I shop, and stocked my pantry. Slater writes evocatively about accessible ingredients, and his recipes are thoughtful and delicious. I love all of his books, but this is a precious favourite.

Sally Vincent

Blogger at Raining Sideways

All the books I have chosen live on my kitchen shelves and are well thumbed and oft used so I cannot imagine the list complete without Nigel Slater, one of my favourite food writers. I frequently find myself reaching for his Diaries, too tired to think after a particularly busy farming day. He never lets me down!

Caroline Kenyon

Founder/Director of The Food Awards Company

I have volumes 1 and 3, the latter given to me by my 19-year old son who is a dedicated cook. I love the gentle pace through the year, the elegiac writing and beautiful photography. It makes me want to be with Nigel in his garden eating goat's cheese salad as the sun goes down, or whatever it may be.

Rowan Yapp


The first cookbook to make me think about seasonal cooking, and in terms of my gain as well as wider reasons. The genuine quality of his enthusiasm is infectious. This book first taught me the elegance of simplicity and the joy of either high or low brow cooking so long as it matches the moment.

Jenny Linford

Food writer

Combines what Nigel does best, exquisite food writing to savour with recipes you want to make. The intimate diary approach - taking you through his food year - is the perfect form, with his writing evoking vividly the textures, flavours and appearance of food in the most pleasurable way.

Susan Campbell

Writer and lllustrator

There is a number of books on my shelves by this author too, but I like this one best because its diary format is incredibly useful when one is at one’s wits end as to what to have for dinner. What did Nigel have on any given day? We’ll have the same. It’s seasonal, too.

Lucy Malouf

Food writer and editor

By definition a seasonal cookbook, Slater’s Kitchen Diaries take you through his very own food year. The result: a cookbook that is all about the joy of impromptu, ingredient-led eating and about home-cooking the way we all want it to be in our own kitchens.

Ed Smith

Food writer

The book that created a thousand copy cats. It's beautiful, tactile and written evocatively. I'm not sure I've actually cooked anything directly from it. But I turn to it more often than any other, as inspiration for what to cook when.

Kerstin Rodgers

Chef, author and blogger

Whenever I feel uninspired, I love to turn to the same date in Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries and cook something similar. All of his recipes work. He has exquisite food instincts and a down to earth, seasonal approach.

Jane Middleton

Editor and writer

Pretty much all Nigel Slater's books are outstanding but, if pushed to choose one, I'd go for this. It perfectly captures the rhythms of his cooking and every recipe simply demands to be eaten.

Martyna Angell

Blogger, Wholesome Cook

This recipe book is more like a gentle introduction to seasonal eating intertwined with stories from Mr Slater's kitchen, garden and life. I simply could not put it down.

Marisa Leaf

Founder and co-CEO of Hubbub

I love that it's organised by month; a great source of seasonal inspiration any time of year. Stand out dish: pork meatballs with lemon and anchovies.

Trine Hahnemann

Food writer, Chef and owner of Hahnemannns Køkken

One of the books I wish I had written, full of love for food, a long story about cooking with recipes.

William Drew

Group Editor, The World's 50 Best Restaurants

An obvious choice, but Slater still stands out for his intelligent and original writing about food.

Valeria Necchio

Cookbook author

Evocative writing and inspiring seasonal recipes bound to a kitchen garden we all wish we had.

Stephanie Jackson


A tribute to the joys of seasonal eating, and a masterclass in how to put a meal together.

Lucy McDonald

Writer and broadcaster

I love this and 10 years on, I still browse through it for seasonal inspiration.

Rukmini Iyer

Food stylist and food writer

For the dreamy, evocative food writing and lovely photographs.

Lotte Duncan

Food presenter, writer and eater

Comfort blanket cookery book

Charlotte Bland

Food photographer

The classic.

Marie Rayner

Food writer

John Healey

Celebrity Maitre d'

Gemma Croffie

Food writer

Romy Gill

Chef and owner of Romy's Kitchen

Paul A Young

Master Chocolatier & Director, Paul A. Young fine chocolates

Sue Lawrence

Food writer and novelist

Killian Fox

Founder and editor of The Gannet

Olia Hercules

Author and food writer

Tori Haschka

Author and writer

Anna Jones

Cook, food writer and stylist

Issy Croker

Food photographer

James Ramsden

Food writer and co-owner of Pidgin restaurant

Ben Norum

Food and drink writer

Chris Young

Co-founder of ChefSteps and author

Kylee Newton

Preserver, cookbook author and sometime food stylist

Stephen Marsh

Managing Director, Pinkster Gin

Fiona Cairns


Shuko Oda

Koya Bar Head Chef

David Joachim

Food writer

Belinda Jeffery

Cookbook author

Jonah Straus

Founder and principal of Straus Literary

Julie Gibbs

Publishing Director – Illustrated Books, Penguin Random House Australia

John Quilter

Broadcaster and chef

Mark Diacono

Food Writer

Maggie Green

Registered dietitian, chef and cookbook author

Amy Zhang

YouTuber, supper club host and cookbook author